JIS News

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  • The Government and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will be hosting the Global Conference on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs)’ at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, on Tuesday, January 29.
  • The conference seeks to develop the capacity of the SMTEs to deliver on the demand of the sector and generate more economic growth.
  • Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ today (January 15), Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the conference is a direct response to the global conference Jamaica hosted in November 2017, where one of the three outcomes was to establish SMTE projects around the world.

The Government and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will be hosting the Global Conference on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs)’ at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, on Tuesday, January 29.

The conference seeks to develop the capacity of the SMTEs to deliver on the demand of the sector and generate more economic growth.

Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ today (January 15), Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the conference is a direct response to the global conference Jamaica hosted in November 2017, where one of the three outcomes was to establish SMTE projects around the world.

He said the conference is significant, because 80 per cent of tourism is driven by SMTEs, but only 20 per cent of the benefits from the industry is returned to them. Therefore, the event “will bring into focus the real champions of tourism, the SMTEs”.

“There was the need for some rebalancing… so it was how do we create that balance, how do we get the real beneficiaries of tourism to be the true providers and owners of the experience, and out of this came the need for this conference,” the Minister explained.

He noted that the conference will bring together the SMTEs; financiers; multinational funding agencies, such as World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Organization of American States (OAS); and local institutions that provide credit for the SMTEs, including the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), EXIM Bank and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), to discuss best practices and strategies.

“We will be bringing thought leaders from across the world to exchange ideas, so that our local small business enterprises that will be coming to the conference, as well as those from the rest of the Caribbean, will have exposure to a broader view, enabling them to expand their own horizon and extend a greater level of creative output, which is valuable and vital to them having more indigenous products, and keep Jamaica at the cutting edge of the new experiences that are driving the world today,” Mr. Bartlett said.

The day’s proceedings will include a keynote address from former President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, and contributions from Deputy Secretary General of the UNWTO, Jaime Alberto; Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.

Elaborating on the focus areas for the conference, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Lloyd Waller, said panel discussions and plenary sessions will feature topics such as ‘The future of SMTEs’; ‘Support mechanisms for SMTEs’; “Digitally transforming SMTEs for success’; ‘Success stories, challenges and lessons learnt and next steps and synergies’.

He informed that participants are expected from Haiti, Israel, United States of America, St. Lucia, Barbados, Africa, Pakistan, India, Spain, Indonesia and Latin America.